Norway's maritime legacy
Over 1000 years ago, a group of Scandinavians conquered Europe. Not by working harder, but by working smarter.
Today the Vikings are known by the Netflix generation merely as brutal warriors. But the truth is, their innovative boat-building laid the foundation for Norway’s maritime legacy.
In the 18th century Norway took the lead in the European market for sailships when times demanded more effective shipping of goods and services.
After WWII, when a long period of linear growth in the western economy created a market for recreational boats, we led the transition from wooden to plastic boats.
The next boating revolution
Norway has been the face of every major boating revolution in modern history. And today, we face another revolution: Sustainable electric boating.
Except this time, nobody seems to care.
Norway has pledged to reduce emissions by 50 percent in every sector in the next 8 years. By 2050 we will no longer be emitting fossil fuels.
Everyone knows it’s coming, even the folks in the traditional boating industry.
Perceived both as inevitable and impossible
Can you imagine 20 years from now owning a boat that leaks oil into the water, creates so much noise you can’t carry on a conversation, and is made from materials that can’t even be reused?
Future generations will look at us like barbarians.
And yet, when companies today are asked to develop sustainable boating solutions, they act like it can’t be done.
Somehow, people believe sustainable boating is both inevitable and impossible.
Where is the Elon Musk of boating?
The Elon Musk of boating
Well, actually, he’s in Florø.
Meet Leif. He quit a C-suite job in the Oil-industry and co-founded Evoy in 2018. Their goal is to make sustainable boating irresistible.
A couple of weeks ago he invited me for a ride on his electric boat in Asker.
You'd expect it to be lame compared to powerful, gas-powered boats. Instead, his 800 HP full electric engine did 60 knots!
And... made virtually no sound.
Many people in traditional boating believe it’s impossible to make fast and fun electric boats because it takes so much energy to move through water.
A boat that flies
And to be fair, it does. So, why not make a boat that flies?
That’s what Sweden did. Tell me you wouldn’t feel like James Bond riding this boat.
These boats - and many more - are available for demo rides in Arendal in June.
So, should you invest in this innovation?
Norway - in relation to its population - is the single largest market for leisure boats.
Look at the numbers. 11 % CAGR. An expected global growth of more than 30 billion euros from present day to 2028.
Most of the boating industry is treating sustainable electric boating like an incremental innovation. But it’s not. It’s a disruptive innovation.
Just like it was 70 years ago.
The disruptive innovation from wooden to plastic boats
In 1953 a young engineer from Grimstad went on a study trip to the states. He was introduced to a new material - Fiberglass. Back home he made a prototype in his garage. At first, nobody took him seriously. Everyone knew the future of wooden boats was… even better wooden boats.
But with fiberglass, hulls could be built for speed. The engines got bigger and the boats got much easier to maintain.
In 1954, Norway’s first plastic boat business started producing boats on Tromøya.
16 years later, in 1970, Norway was the center of a new, international plastic boat industry. In fact, we were the largest exporter of boats to the European market.
And today, plastic boats still dominate. But 16 years from now? They will be a thing of the past.
Will Norway lead the way this time?
And the question is, will Norway lead the way like we’ve done so many times before?
We can. And we should.
We need a wake up call for the early market, the politicians, and the investors.
That’s why we made Lydløs - an arena for future boating and the Electric Boating Business Network.
With your help, once again Norway will be a main player in the European boatmarket, creating new jobs, building business, and establishing green growth.
©️ Copyright Peder Tellefsdal